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Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds/Noel Gallagher: Chasing Yesterday

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The greater appeal of CHASING YESTERDAY is in the way Gallagher, 47, now does reflection, loss and persistent optimism, leavening his usual power chords and pub-choir-ready choruses with a dusky, psychedelic churn..."

NME (Magazine) - "'The Mexican' is terrific fun, featuring judicious amounts of cowbell, a riff so sleazy it'd make Josh Homme blush and a horn section under orders to make it sound as close to The Rolling Stones' 'Bitch' as is legally expedient."

Clash (magazine) - "The most impressive thing about CHASING YESTERDAY is the playfulness that's woven throughout it. It's there in the snippets of studio banter, the unexpected instrumentation, the massive choruses..."

Album Notes

Opening with a minor chord strummed on an acoustic guitar somewhere off in the distance, Noel Gallagher's second solo album, Chasing Yesterday, echoes Oasis' second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? -- a conscious move from a rocker who's never minded trading in memories of the past. He may be evoking his Brit-pop heyday -- "Lock All the Doors" surges with the cadences of "Morning Glory" even as it interpolates David Essex's "Rock On" -- but it amounts to no more than a wink because Gallagher knows he's two decades older and perhaps a little wiser as well. Certainly, Chasing Yesterday is the work of a musician very comfortable with his craft. Like the first album from High Flying Birds -- a largely anonymous group of pros who make no attempt to steal the spotlight from their leader -- it moves deliberately, never rushing and rarely rocking, preferring to find pleasure in majesty instead of hedonism. Where 2011's HFB kept things a shade too calm -- its reserve almost seemed like a rebuke to the messy id of Gallagher's brother -- Chasing Yesterday occasionally threatens to actually rock, delivering that signature wall of guitars on the aforementioned "Lock All the Doors," mustering up a bit of old-fashioned, cowbell-driven glam boogie on "The Mexican," and quickening the tempo on "You Know We Can't Go Back," a piece of incandescent pop that plays as a resigned companion to "Step Out." Better still, the self-styled epics -- which include the first single "In the Heat of the Moment" and closing "Ballad of the Mighty I," which features grace notes from a guesting Johnny Marr -- pulsate with quiet color, as does "Riverman," a signature piece of stately late-period Beatles pop that would've been drained to grey on HFB. Here, "Riverman" breathes and sighs, taking a moment to slide into a saxophone-accentuated guitar solo straight out of a pre-punk 1976, and this masterful flair is a testament to the control and focus Gallagher displays on Chasing Yesterday. He's not racing after the past, nor is he afraid to seem floridly fussy: he's reveling in his ascendency to the position of one of rock's wise old men. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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